Adams Papers

To John Adams from Edmund Jenings, 2 June 1780

From Edmund Jenings

Brussels June 2d. 1780


I have this day receivd your Excellencys Letter of the 28th.1 Ultimo, which shall be made the proper Use of but its Silent with regard to two others,2 which I had the Honor of addressing to your Excellency, one about Six days Ago, and another about ten, I am under a great Uneasiness for their fate. In particular for one which inclosd a Letter from London, which had in it Something particular—under the Jargon3 of <a supposed> a farm and farmers, my Friend, in whom I have Confidence says He likes farmer Jay very well, but how came it that Hussey, who is a roman Catholick and is related to one Man a Chatholic, shoud have any thing to do in my affairs?4 that He saw Him lately in London, and that He Knows he is sent in Devonshire,5 (Spain) to tear up every thing by the Roots. He says that Hussey is a (fair) plausible man and that his Countenance is fair. Does your Excellency Know any one, that Answers this Description, that has passed through Paris? I have written to London for a clearer description, and Proofs, if possible of the Suggestions.

I am sorry the Letter itself has not come to your Excellency’s Hand. I Kept no Copy of it, having desird your Excellency to return me the original with your Opinion on it. I returnd your Excellency The most respectful Thanks of those, to whom Clintons Letter was addressed and wrote of other matters, which I wish had not been stopped.6 Not that I care Whether Friends see it, but I think that all shoud and in particular your Excellency to whom, it properly belongs. This Stopping of Letters is Ungenerous and dangerous. Can your Excellency give me another Address to You? I write this under Cover to Mr. Grand. Pray inquire after those Letters, I put them in the Post myself.

I am Sir your Excellencys Most devoted & Obedient Hble Sert

Edm: Jenings

RC (Adams Papers).

1Although JA indicates in his letter of 6 June (below) that he had written to Jenings on 28 May, no letter of that date has been found. The missing letter to Jenings may have contained the analysis of Lord George Germain’s speech of 5 May that JA sent to Genet on 28 May (above) with a request that Jenings secure its publication in the London papers. That would explain Jenings’ promise to make “proper Use” of it as well as the com­ments in his letter of 5 May [i.e. June] (below) where he mentions a letter of the 28th and writes at length regarding JA’s comments on Germain’s speech.

2These were Jenings’ letters of 27 May (above) and 22 May (Adams Papers). For the letter of the 22d and its enclosed letter to Jenings from a “Confidential Friend” in London, see JA’s letter to Jenings of 29 May, and notes (above).

3“Jargon” is apparently used here in the obsolete sense of a code (OED description begins The Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford, 1933; 12 vols. and supplements. description ends ). Both Jenings here and JA in his letter of 29 May seem to indicate that Jenings’ correspondent used the word “farmer” to mean John Jay.

4Jenings’ meaning here is unclear and, in the absence of the letter from his friend, probably unknowable. Thomas Hussey was a Catholic priest, but to whom he was related and how that would affect John Jay in Spain remains obscure. For Hussey and his mission to Spain, see JA’s letter of the 29th, and note 4 (above).

5This may be another example of the “Jargon” used by Jenings’ correspondent, “Devonshire” being used in place of “Spain.” Another explanation is that it is meant to refer to the ship on which Hussey went to Spain, but, in fact, he sailed on the frigate Milford (Samuel F. Bemis, The Hussey-Cumberland Mission and American Independence, Princeton, 1931, p. 51).

6This and the following sentence refer to Jenings’ letter of 27 May (above).

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